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Hamas Reports Deaths of 3 Hostages, Including 10-Month-Old Child, as Truce Nears Conclusion: Live Updates

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Negotiators from multiple countries are actively engaged in discussions to extend the cease-fire in the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, Hamas declared on Wednesday that three Israeli hostages, including a 10-month-old child, have tragically lost their lives.

The final planned release of hostages held by militants and prisoners detained by Israel is scheduled for later today.

According to reports, Hamas leaders are open to a four-day extension of the truce and the release of additional Israeli hostages in exchange for Palestinian security prisoners. Israeli officials have also shown interest in prolonging the cease-fire while facilitating the release of more hostages.

Qatari, Egyptian, and U.S. officials have been collaborating with leaders from Hamas and Israel in an effort to secure a temporary extension with the ultimate goal of bringing an end to the conflict. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, has reiterated that the fight will persist until Hamas is defeated.

Martin Indyk, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, emphasized that the current circumstances are conducive to a broader exchange. Indyk noted, “Netanyahu can see that Hamas prefers not to return to war, but the public insistence on prioritizing the return of hostages ties his hands.” He added that pressure from President Joe Biden to extend the pause complicates the decision to resume hostilities.

Contrary to some reports, a senior Israeli official, speaking anonymously to USA TODAY, expressed doubt about the feasibility of turning the pause into a long-term cease-fire involving the release of all remaining hostages, including men and soldiers, in exchange for all Palestinians held in Israeli jails.

Since October 7, when militants entered Israel on a destructive mission, resulting in the death of 1,200 people, Israel has been conducting a military campaign, leveling parts of Gaza. Palestinian authorities claim that over 13,000 people have been killed in the ongoing conflict.

The truce, initiated on Friday and initially set for four days, facilitated the release of 50 Israeli hostages and 150 Israeli-held Palestinian prisoners. Talks led to a two-day extension through Wednesday, allowing for additional releases.



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